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Baltimore unrest means big biz for tech products



The past year of debate and strife in cities nationwide has pushed law enforcement agencies to begin adopting body cameras. The result: shares of body camera makers are soaring.
Protesters on the street are demanding justice. Police are on TV pleading for peace. Taser is rolling in the dough.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., company that makes stun guns and body cameras for law enforcement officers has long been ignored by Wall Street for its still-debated controversial solutions to otherwise potentially deadly clashes between police and civilians.
Taser’s stock began surging last summer as major protests ignited in Missouri and New York over alleged police brutality and the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers. As lawmakers from across the country continue searching for answers, Wall Street has found Taser.
The company’s shares have risen more than 160 percent since the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, better than some of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple, whose iPhones propelled its shares more than 36 percent over the same time, and video streaming service Netflix, whose shares have risen nearly 25 percent. Shares of a Taser competitor, Digital Ally, have risen nearly fourfold.
Wall Street isn’t making a blind bet. Public perception and government money have shifted toward a seemingly inevitable future of placing a body camera on every police officer in the country. The sudden move has surprised veterans of law enforcement who have become accustomed to the ebbs and flows of police reform.
Technology has invaded the police departments.
The latest protests are over the death of Freddie Gray, a man who died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police nearly two weeks ago. On Friday, six police officers were indicted on charges related to his death. When Gray’s family members responded, they pleaded for law enforcement reforms across the country.

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